While studying engineering at university, you’re likely to have a wide range of skills and experiences, all of which can be used to write your CV when applying for jobs in the UK.
There’s an annual demand for 124,000 engineers and technicians with core engineering skills across the economy. However, having the qualifications and the demand for the role is great, but you need to write a good CV to stand out. Here’s some tips on how to write it:
- Look at the layout of other CVs before starting
- Tailor it to the specific engineering position you’re applying for
- Show your personality but keep it relevant
- Tell them about your relevant skills and achievements
- Check for mistakes, then check again
- Remain professional and build your personal brand online
Look at the layout of other CVs before starting
The layout is one of the most important parts of your CV. This applies to graduates of any degree, not just engineering. If it’s difficult for your potential employer to find the information they need, they might just put your CV at the bottom of the pile.
So, make sure it’s easy to read.
Here are some of our best formatting tips for your CV:
- keep the CV at around two pages in length. This is enough to provide a good level of detail without potential employers becoming uninterested
- use a clear font that's easy to read. They just want to read the information quickly and a complicated font could take them longer.
- use bullet points and short paragraphs to break the text up as much as possible. This helps to make your CV easier to read.
- don’t add images, logos or bright designs - just keep it simple. Recruiters are interested in the content within the CV and what you can bring to the role
Tip: The most common layout is to separate the CV into different sections. It should follow a clear format that highlights your skills, experience and education.
Tailor it to the different engineering positions
The difficult part of writing an engineering CV is including the right amount of technical knowledge, practical experience and personal skills. It's tempting to include everything you learn on your work placements but it can make your CV very long.
So, try to choose the most important points and tailor it to the job you're applying for.
Tip: Each time you apply for a job, check the job advert to see what the employer is looking for. Two engineering positions might have the same title but they may be looking for very different types of experience.
Make sure you look over every job advert to see what the employer’s asking for and put the most relevant experience at the top.
Show your personality but avoid including personal details
This doesn’t mean add a photo. It’s not a good idea to include personal information that takes up valuable space in your CV.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- don’t include your age
- make sure your email address is professional
- avoid underlining, bolding or italicising text
- unrelated work experience isn’t necessary
Information about yourself should be the first thing a potential employer reads. Make sure it’s engaging and avoid talking too much about yourself. If you’re worried about having little to no experience, try to expand on skills and knowledge you’ve gained from your course, rather than using personal details to fill space.
Tip: Recruiters look for more than just the right work experience. They're also looking for the right personality to fit with their company culture. So, include a few interesting (but appropriate) details about yourself that you can talk about in your interview.
For example, this could be your interests or other extracurricular activities you enjoy.
Tell them about your relevant skills and achievements
Potential employers love to read about your achievements and the bigger they are, the better.
If you’ve recently worked on a project, what did it involve and what were the results? Hiring managers love seeing evidence of your skills, knowledge and achievements. Including this in your CV can set you apart from other candidates and may just be the competitive advantage you need to secure the job.
If you’ve graduated, you’ll have gained skills and knowledge from your education, work placements and extra-curricular activities. When talking about your skills and experience, it’s important to give examples of how you have gained or used your expertise.
This makes it easy for an employer to see how you have developed your skills and gained your experience by using specific examples.
Example: At Newcastle University, I was a proud member of the Mechanical Engineering society. Using communication skills and teamwork, we solved problems together and worked on several engineering projects, including working as part of a team of four in the IMech’s Formula Student Competition to design, build and race a single-seat race car.
Tip: To make it easy for the reader, you could even include a ‘technical skills’ section, which is especially important in engineering and STEM roles. This should include engineering and design software packages you’ve used. For example, CAD and lean manufacturing.
Check for mistakes, then check again
Once you’ve written your engineering CV, make sure you spend time checking it for errors such as spelling and grammar. Engineers are known for their attention to detail, so this is something employers will notice.
You also need to make sure you’ve used a consistent writing style. You don’t want to sound like two different people halfway through your CV.
Tip: You can use Grammarly when checking for spelling mistakes but it’s a good idea to ask a teacher, friend or parent to read over your CV over too.
Remain professional and build your brand
Engineering recruiters want to see strong technical skills, relevant project experience and your personality too. This should convince a potential employer that you have what it takes to fit in their workplace and be valuable to the business.
It’s never too early to start building your brand online using a LinkedIn profile. You can list all your skills and experience there, getting endorsed by other engineering professionals as you progress.
Now all that’s left is succeeding at the interview and securing the job. Don’t worry, we can help with that too. Here at Newcastle University, we have a dedicated Careers Team who can help you gain work experience in this sector, find roles after graduation and support you in planning your career.
For more information when it comes to building your brand, cover letters and interview tips, we created the perfect resource to get you started.
Succeed in interviews, write amazing cover letters and more with our guide
We know it’s exciting to start your career, there are things like cover letters and interview prep that we can help you with. That’s why we created our ‘‘Getting Work Ready’ guide, which is full of all the information you need to increase your employability and be more prepared for working life.
You’ll also find advice on how to create your online branding too. Download your copy below.